As a dancer you need to work actively with your breathing on many different levels to add impact, power or to conduct certain moves best possible [belly flutters etc.]. But here I want to share a completely different exercise that you can use to quickly recenter yourself and stay calm in times of stress. I’m talking about active diaphragmatic breathing – something that you can also use for yoga, mediation etc. But it’s also extremely useful if you’re suffering from stage fright or performance nerves and need to recenter yourself and not least reconnect with your body before a performance.
I’ve recorded a short video going through the process and explaining just why it’s so important to connect with your breath. It’s not accessible on my YouTube channel but you can view it here.
Doing this exercise regularly can also help strengthen your diaphragm, so if you are hoping to master ‘belly flutters’ this can be a great way to work on that whilst staying nice and calm too.
However, diaphragmatic breathing doesn’t work whilst dancing, because you want to be able to show moves on your tummy such as camels, and you also need to be able to contract your abs for balance. But it’s a technique used by singers.
Dancers need to master lateral breathing instead, which means breathing more into the sides and back of the lungs. You can try putting your hands on the side of your ribs or on your middle back [around your bra strap] to feel how this kind of breathing feels as a contrast.
Both diaphragmatic and lateral breathing is better than shallow breathing which will only reach the top of your lungs, as not only will it mean you have to breath quicker to get enough oxygen, but also it makes your body believe that you actually are in a stressful situation even if you may not think you are. Hence the importance of the exercise shared in the video.
Happy breaking, being and of course dancing 😉
Did you miss my last post? Read it here: How to keep developing your dancing during lockdown